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Acquisition Program Teamwork and Performance Seen Anew: Exposing the Interplay of Architecture and Behaviors in Complex Defense Programs

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Conference Paper

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge United States

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This research frames complex engineering development programs as sociotechnical systems with program performance driven by interpersonal and inter-organizational dynamics as well as technical system interdependencies. It attempts to address the question of why performance in complex development programs has not improved significantly in the last several decades, despite the development and application of many new and sophisticated tools for managing these programs. A review of the literature on managing complex sociotechnical systems was used to develop a framework and method for instrumenting complex engineering programs and measuring their essential attributes. The proposed framework identifies fundamental elements of engineering programs relating to, e.g., products, processes, organizations, and people and the drivers of program performance. The framework is illustrated using a case study of a complex engineering program that spanned multiple technical systems, organizations, and disciplines. The paper discusses the resulting measurement framework and provides examples of the application of the framework to identify management control levers for design, engineering, test and evaluation, fielding, and sustainment of complex engineering programs.


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